I used Acucobol in an SCO Xenis environment in a previous job. I was happy with the product, so all I had to do to evaluate the Linux version was make sure it works as well as the Xenix one.
A Benchmark

I developed a simple benchmark for Acucobol, which is a translation of another benchmark I did for xBASE products. (See Linux Journal #14, June 1995, p. 27.) This benchmark processed a file containing 33,830 records and was run on a 66 mHz 486 with a SCSI disk.

It's reasonable to expect that Acucobol would be noticeably slower than Flagship, since Flagship programs are compiled into machine code, and Acucobol programs are compiled into b-codes, which must be interpreted at run time.

Figure 1. Benchmark Results

Other Observations

Acucobol Inc. hosts a developers' conference in San Diego every year. The next one is September 18-20. I haven't been to one of these yet, but I've had good reports from them; attendees are treated well by Acucobol, Inc.

There are references in the manuals to GUI and mouse support, but they seem to be only for Windows NT. Acucobol, Inc. does seem to be interested in offering some sort of UNIX GUI support eventually.

This product will probably not be of much interest to hard-core Linux people; they would rather program in C for free than pay big bucks to use COBOL. It should be of interest to the Linux community, though, that Acucobol, Inc. went to the trouble of porting their product, because it gives Linux more legitimacy.

However, the Linux version of Acucobol should be of great importance to another community: system houses that develop and maintain COBOL application software. When these system houses sell a product to an end user, the end user must not only purchase the application, s/he must also purchase the hardware the application runs on and the rest of the software environment. For example, if the application runs under Windows 95 or SCO Unix, either the customer or the systems house must buy a copy of Windows 95 or SCO Unix. A system house that has a COBOL application to sell can now try to convince customers to accept Linux as the software environment instead and can offer a lower total cost to the customer.

Robert Broughton ( has been developing software for 24 years and has been using Linux since February, 1993. He is employed by Zadall Systems Group, in Burnaby, BC, Canada. His web page is at:


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